Virginia’s Republican attorney general is just getting his television debut for his gubernatorial bid started, but it looks like his campaign could already use a woman’s touch.
The kick-off TV ad for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s run for the governor’s seat is missing one notable character: Ken Cuccinelli. The candidate himself never speaks on camera in his first of likely many campaign ads to hit the television airwaves in Virginia. Instead, the sales pitch is left in the hands of his wife, Teiro.
“My husband, Ken, has spent his life standing up for the vulnerable and those in need,” his wife, Teiro Cuccinelli says. ”Virginia deserves a governor who is experienced, principled, and honest.”
The 30-second ad, seen as a direct appeal to female voters, glosses over the more contentious court battles the attorney general has stirred in recent months. The television slot does not include any mention of abortion, even as the attorney general continues his crusade in making restrictive access to abortion as a hallmark of his time in office. Cuccinelli has been particularly apt in stiff-arming the Virginia Board of Health into passing laws that effectively shut down abortion clinics through building regulations and red tape—points his opponent, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, is trying to use against him to cast the polarizing politician off as too extreme.
According to a Quinnipiac University survey last month, 29% of Virginia voters found Cuccinelli as too conservative, compared to the 21% of voters who found McAuliffe as too liberal. In that same survey, McAuliffe led with women voters by a full 10 points.
Cuccinelli’s female-targeted ad comes after Women Speak Out Virginia—a regional group linked to the anti-abortion organization the Susan B. Anthony List—spent $50,000 on two weeks’ work of radio ads against McAuliffe’s position opposing backdoor bans on abortion clinics.
Teiro Cuccinelli instead focuses on her husband’s softer side, and his wholesome work at homeless shelters and in fighting sexual assault. “As attorney general, Ken fought to find and prosecute child predators and human traffickers,” she says in the advertisement.
Earlier this month, Cuccinelli took that fight against child predators to the extreme when he urged the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond to keep anti-sodomy laws on the books in Virginia. Cuccinelli’s office defended the move as a means to protect “Virginia’s children from predators who attempt to exploit them and rob them of their childhood.”
According to the National Review, the ad will debut for Virginia voters on Monday.